From the time she was a little girl, Monette Mabolo wanted to work in the healthcare field.
When she got to Arellano University in the Philippines, where she was born and raised, she enrolled as a nursing student and her journey began. She got the BSN in 1978 and started her career teaching in a nursing program and working in a medical-surgical unit in a hospital. But when the opportunity to move to the United States came her way, she knew she couldn’t pass it up. “I left my three-month old baby behind with family and moved to Florida,” recalls Monette. For the next eight years, she visited often but built her career at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, first in the surgical unit and then in the post-anesthesia trauma unit as a clinical nurse.
After her third child was born, Monette’s husband and children were finally able to join her in the United States when she became a permanent resident. “It was difficult, but my husband and I knew that what we did offered a better life for our family,” she says. Eventually, the family moved to North Carolina, where Monette has a sister. She joined Duke University Hospital in 1995 as a clinical nurse. She worked her way up to become a nurse manager of general surgery and orthopedic units at Duke Raleigh Hospital in 2000. Along the way, she earned an MBA in Health Care Management from Regis University and an MSN in Health Care Leadership from Duke.
During her final two years of her 16-year career at Duke, Monette was a nurse manager for the critical care units and the central telemetry monitoring department at Duke Raleigh Hospital. Seeking a new challenge, Monette reached out to a former colleague who worked for Cone Health. She was hired as department director of 3East Heart Failure at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro—a role she still holds today. “I love it here,” says Monette. “The people and culture are fantastic, and it’s a great, supportive environment.”
Next goal: doctorate
Although her career was progressing how she wanted, earning a doctorate was something that had been on Monette’s mind for many years. “Honestly, when I was considering a doctorate during my time at Duke, most programs I found were Ph.D. programs, which was focused on research,” she says. That made it easy to set the idea aside while getting her sons through high school and moving over to Cone Health. But in 2014, Monette learned about American Sentinel University from a colleague. “The Doctor of Nursing Practice Executive Leadership was exactly the type of program I wanted. I’ve been a leader for a long time and wanted a program that was geared toward that but very practice focused.” Monette started the DNP Executive Leadership that year.
A rise of new opportunities
As a heart failure expert, Monette used her DNP capstone project as an opportunity to improve her organization by championing the development of standards of practice for the heart failure unit. She started presenting her capstone research (“Advance Community Paramedicine Program: Improving Patient Outcomes and Reducing Hospital Readmission of High-Risk Heart Failure Patients”) at conferences around the country, earning a reputation as a noteworthy speaker. In June 2017, Monette graduated with the DNP Executive Leadership. This spring, she keynoted the 47th Annual Global Nursing and Healthcare conference in the United Kingdom, speaking on the advance community paramedicine program and how hospitals can reduce their readmissions of high-risk heart patients.
“I love it,” Monette says of presenting, her newfound passion. “Being in school is what inspired me to start travelling to conferences and sharing what I’ve learned. It’s another reason I’m very pleased with my American Sentinel experience.” What’s next now that she has graduated? Making a difference at Cone Health, speaking, and perhaps one day, teaching. “I’m open to the possibilities. It’s been great to be able to share what I’ve learned in my career and in my DNP. I love to learn, and I’m still doing so during this fun part of my career.”
Inspired by Monnette’s story? A DNP with a specialization in executive leadership prepares master’s-educated nurses for leadership roles in the healthcare system. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.